I was at the CEDIA and had a couple of long chats with Kevin Zarow who is the VP at Product development for D&M. I've known Kevin for several years and he is a great guy. I have always found his subjective opinion to correlate with my ears. I also talked off line with Jeff Cowan VP of training at D&M to find out what he knows. He is a walking database. Finally, I spoke with a lot of the Dolby folks trying to understand how SQ will be impacted with Atmos EVEN with a 5.1 system.
Here is the cliff note:
1.) The Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Modules (HDAM’s) were reworked on the AV7702. "HDAM's" are discretely built operational amplifiers which is a key component in the analog signal chain. For clarification. "discretely built" means individual resistor, capacitors and FET's are used versus a semiconductor operational amplifier. A semiconductor operational OP amp is used on the lower cost Denon product family. The 7701's previous design has a 6.2V/μsec slew rate as compared to the redesigned 41.7V/μsec improved HDAMs for 2014. That works out to be nearly 7 times faster. A lion's share of the audible enhancements is beening credited to the new HDAM's re-design. According to Kevin, the differences were immediately noticeable to the engineers as well as his own ears. The 8802 (Feb 2015) will get this new tweak plus other enhancements TBD
. To be clear, the 8801 has different tweaks over the 7702.
2.) Video Select was added in again. So for HDMI-connected sources, you can listen to one source while watching another.
3.) Digital-to-analog multi-source audio conversion for remote zones are again present. HDMI was added in 2014. So now all digital inputs are converted.
4.) More flexible Zone 2 HDMI features. Warning: Anytime zone two reconfirms handshakes, zone 1 will do the same and briefly interrupt the signal on the main zone. Perfect handshaking approaches cost $1K+ all by themselves. So this is not meant to be a substitute. I can expand on this if people care about this feature.
5.) Bluetooth streaming was added in addition to Airplay. Not aptX. Auto power on occurs when the AVR is selected as a BT device. Zone 2 BT is also capable with multi device memory (numerous users are allowed).
6.) HDMI 2.0/4K 60HZ.4K 60Hz 4:4:4 24bit, 4K 60Hz 4:2:2 36bit, and 4K 60Hz 4:2:0 24bit.
7.) ECO Mode enabled features were created to be "green". Off, On, and Auto are the three modes. In "On", sound quality is compromised. All USA
models are factory set to "Off". Meaning, no Eco mode unless you enable it. If you enable "auto", energy saving starts automatically depending on volume level. The Auto mode means power saving happens without sacrifice in sound quality. I'm leaving it "Off".
8.) User experience/interface (GUI) have many improvements called "smart select".
9.) Significant App improvements for for phones and tablets (both iOS and Android) were created. Release date late October 2014.
10.) Microphone stand included.
11.) WiFi connectivity (hardwire is still recommended when it is available).
12.) 4 Shark Analog Devices DSP's. Important
: This means D&M is the only vendors that can do Atmos AND Audyssey. Onkyo for instance chose to auto-upgrade a group of prepro's and receivers. Onkyo also saved on the BOM or Bill of Material by not adding the DSP horsepower to do both technologies. IMHO, a major fopaux to my customer base.
I have more bullets to follow. Got to run!
Steve with Sound Video http://www.soundvideo.com